How often do we sit back and take a clear look at our emotional wounds and how they impact how we live our lives? I know for me the answer used to be “not as often as I should.” It’s hard to admit that we have been hurt by someone we care a great deal about. Our society has dictated certain emotions as weak and we often were told to toughen up as children. We were told words were just that, words, and we shouldn’t let what other people say about us effect how we view ourselves. As we grow up we tend to tuck certain emotions away in a corner of our mind and pretend that they don’t exist. Some people also pretend that how another person treats you, or how they act towards you doesn’t impact your self worth. But if you are continuously allowing yourself to be put into the same type of toxic relationship on repeat- even with your parents, family or friends – then you likely have developed some type of emotional wound, whether you admit it or not.
Emotional wounds are also a huge part of toxic relationships when it comes to emotionally unavailable men. Not only do you develop wounds by the hot and cold nature of the relationship, but it also reflects the emotional wounds that he has by his lack of ability to care about you at a deeper level. The worthlessness you can feel when he dumps you for the second or third time, the anxiety you develop when he doesn’t call, or even the depression that may develop when you see him liking pictures from other girls on social media, all can slowly eat away at your self esteem. After you two break-up these emotional wounds are rarely given time to effectively heal and are probably hard for you to admit you have because of the fact you’ve likely been living in a fairy-tale land and fail to see the relationship and him for what they really are…
The other night a girl friend was asking my advice on how to allow herself to love again. After multiple relationships ending badly, and being cheated on time and time again, she had found herself in a situation where she couldn’t open herself up to anyone. She had met a guy she was gushing over and started telling me just how amazing he was in every way! Yet she was finding herself scared to open her heart to him because the fear of being hurt again was real. She claimed she had become a jealous girl over time and feared she would put her heart in the hands of another wolf in sheep’s clothing… Jealousy is usually experienced when you think he’s going to run off with someone who you classify as “better.” But who is to classify that someone is better than someone else? Why do you think that there is someone better than who you are? You are uniquely made and nobody else can ever be you!
Whenever we see a fault in someone else, it’s typically a reflection of an emotional wound in us. Broke attracts broke. Destructive attracts destructive. You may find yourself getting mad with a boyfriend for not being able to make you happy because you aren’t underneath it all, generally happy. Why should anyone else be in charge of someone elses happiness, anyways?
Walls are put up, and people are kept at an arms distance when there are abandonment issues from the past. Your emotional wounds attract their likeness in someone else. When we don’t deal with our emotional wounds head on, we subconsciously look to someone else to do it for us. We search for the validation that we are important, that we are needed, and that we are worth enough in this world to cause someone to change for the better. By allowing these emotional wounds to fester, we also subconsciously look for a cure to the infection happening with us. Cue the emotionally unavailable men and the toxic relationship he brings with. It’s a clear-cut pattern. The “knight in shining armor” goes full force into the relationship telling you everything you had been wanting to hear to make yourself feel good again. The passion is intense and the feelings are quick! He likely has you falling head over heals within a few days and you’re starting to feel happy again! Then as soon as you start to get close to him, give up everything to please him, and pump up his ego, he will pull a vanishing act! He starts to put up emotional walls and barriers all to keep you at an arms length.
These types of men don’t let anybody get too close and don’t let anyone impinge on their independence. You’ll soon be classified as needy, clingy, or even psychotic, and suddenly the way he is acting has become all your fault. Once he breaks up with you, you fall back into the same feelings of worthlessness all while he’s riding high from the pump up to his God complex. Eventually he will lose his high, need to get his next ego fix, and will eventually come crawling back… You allow him back in because you genuinely cared about him, are heart-BROKEN, and are looking for a cure to the pain… It’s a bad sitcom stuck on repeat and you’re the starring role.
Why is it that emotional wounds are not dealt with in the same manner we would treat physical wounds? Just because we can’t see emotional wounds, doesn’t mean they aren’t just as important to treat. We tend to disregard the importance and ignore how imperative it is to let take the time to let them heal all because they cant’t physically be seen. If you cut your finger on a knife you pay quick attention to stop the bleeding, bandage the cut, and make sure it has a good environment to heal. You wouldn’t ever just leave it gaping open, left to become infected and leave it like that! So why do we not do this when experience emotional trauma? We tend to let the emotional wounds fester, patch them up with some type of quick messy band aid job- whether that’s a rebound relationship, a weekend bender, or turn to stuffing our face full of ice cream- and then get mad when the infection starts to spread into other aspects of our lives. A well cleaned up wound heals with time. It may leave a scar but knowing you did everything to allow the cut to heal makes the scar much more accepting.
I don’t think any of my ex’s consciously meant to inflict emotional wounds in me because I know I never meant to inflict any in them. At the time, I didn’t even think the continuous cycle I was experiencing was causing and reflecting some real damage we both had. But as I’ve grown in my relationship with myself and with God, I’ve learned to have some respect for myself. I realized that I was using sloppy emotional bandages and never allowing myself to really heal from past experiences. I’ve since learned that if someone doesn’t care enough about you, to really care about you, then it’s a reflection of themselves. Someone who doesn’t have the ability to feel empathy or compassion for anyone around them is what we have come to know as a narcissist, and trying to change an emotionally void man is like trying to teach a dog to meow. They only care and will only care about numero uno! The lack of emotion expressed towards you has nothing to do with your self-worth and who you are as a person. Everyone is worthy of being loved! As you learn to develop healthy boundaries and learn to treat yourself with the love you so freely give to others, you will eventually find someone who won’t take advantage of the love you have to give.
Some people may think that words are just words… That sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you… But words do hurt, and emotional damage is REAL damage. It can be one of the hardest injuries to do damage control on because nobody can physically see them, they can only be felt. It’s hard to help someone stitch up an emotional wound when you can’t necessarily understand how they feel underneath it all. Dealing with emotional wounds is something that so many women tend to push to the side. Women are so stuck on being tough, and independent, and strong, that it’s easy to neglect the feelings that are experienced underneath it all. If you want to make a change for yourself, you have to give yourself the time to heal. Take some time to process your emotions and to take some time to be alone. Take the time to find out who you are as a person, don’t just jump into another relationship. Be your own knight in shining armor! Take all the time you need to emotionally heal, moving on doesn’t happen instantly. Take each day by day, step by step, and you will be able to free yourself from the brokenness inside. Instill some boundaries, explore your values, and find out who your authentic self is. Stop auditioning for people, and bending yourself to fit a certain mold that someone else has created for you and learn to accept yourself as you are! That person is worthy of love and is deserving of someone who treats her like the queen she is! Life is way to short to waste another day crying over a man who exploits your feelings and doesn’t allow you to grow! If you spend all your time holding on to some guy who treats you like an option, you are going to miss out on a guy who will want to make you a priority.